Ultimate Healing.


I sat on the floor in a room full of friends that suddenly felt like strangers.

I felt naked, stripped, as they all looked intently at me; waiting for me to continue on.

It was November 13, 2014- the day before my birthday.

It was also November 13, 2014- the day before the neurologist appointment that brought to light pieces of the Lord’s plan for our family.

I had not yet shed one tear. I was in such a state of denial that my brain could not even begin to fixate on the truth of what was happening, and, “Everything will be fine” and, “It’s nothing serious.”

“I just…” Lump in my throat bigger than an avalanche.

“I guess you should pray…” Silence.

“I just don’t want this to be happening and I don’t want anything to be wrong!” The avalanche, out from within, poured out on the floor. My shoulders were shaking from how violently I was weeping; and suddenly, I had no control over the fact I felt naked and stripped, nor did I care anymore.

Our small group did all they could- gathered around me and simply prayed. Some prayed for healing, others for peace. The miracle in that moment was that the tears stopped, I took a deep breath in, and pulled it together in a matter of minutes.


I still feel like that same avalanche stays somewhere inside. It has yet to come out as powerfully as it did that night, despite many, many more appointments, hards and deep-seated griefs.

From that point forward, I spent at least six months begging God to heal our girls.

Little did I know, He was doing something much greater.

He was healing the souls of many through their sufferings.

As time has gone on, He has performed a larger miracle than pulling my emotions together that night on our living room floor.

He has transformed my desires, given me new eyes, so much so that my prayer has changed.

I no longer pray for earthly healing for our girls. His Spirit within begs for much greater things.

I simply pray for God to continue to use their little, glorious lives to make Him known.

This prayer He has answered according to His perfect will- yes, yes, yes.

The remainder of this post is going to soothe the hearts of those who have walked it and step on the toes of those who simply don’t want to see it.

That’s okay.

Believe me, there are truths in God’s Word that I, point blank, don’t always like hearing.

Submit to your husband.

Put others’ needs before your own.

Love your enemies.

Make internal beauty the focus, not external.

These are hard things; things my flesh writhes against.

But God.

He asks that I hear them anyway.

So today, I am praying you would open your heart to meditate on a few things that I believe God desperately needs His children to soak in.

As a Christ follower, what is your prize?

Now, the Sunday School answer is clearly Jesus Himself.

Yet- do we live like this? Do we pray like this? Do we desire this for the people closest to us? More of Him and less of ourselves.

And- are we willing to walk through the suffering in order to attain the prize?

Most “Church people” would be quick to say yes to this one- but is this the culture we have set up in our communities?

More often than not, in our small group, I find us praying for the wants of our flesh rather than the perspective of the Spirit.

We pray for earthly healing. We ask for disease to be taken away. We want the miracle that we see on this side of heaven instead of claiming the truth that the true miracle is that whatever we are walking through- if it involves suffering, sin, or death- was ultimately destroyed at the cross.

Do we want to spend our “meantime” asking God to make us comfortable and safe and happy during our short days here; or do we want to spend our “meantime” asking Him to make us more like Himself?

Scripturally speaking, isn’t our ultimate goal that the nations would know Him? That His name would be known and souls would be won- not bodies fixed or earthly comforts attained?

“We know that for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.”- Romans 8:28

This becomes our silent mantra when trials appear. It was mine. I remember journaling, so confidently, that He was going to work out our girls’ suffering for His good. And He has. He continues to. What I didn’t take into account then that He has given me the grace to see now is that His ways are so completely different from mine.

Friends, I want to tell you that I will pray for healing for you. And from an eternal perspective, you can bet I will. I will storm the gates of heaven and intercede on behalf of your soul- so much so that when it comes to whatever trial God has allowed to come into your life, I will simply pray that you see more of Him in it all. This isn’t exactly the prayer warrior many of us desire. Yet, if the goal- if the prize- is more of Jesus, and if His ways are not our ways, then it would seem that the loving prayer is always going to put God in the center and our temporary circumstances to the side.

Do I believe that God performs miracles?

Absolutely. If I didn’t, I would not believe He was Sovereign and Almighty and as Other as He is.

Yet, taking on an eternal perspective, I just want to suggest that maybe we should pray less for trials to stop and more for us to see Him in the trial.

More of Him, less of me.

For my friends who have lost parents and children and siblings and friends- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

For those whose infertility has not ended in a baby, despite many prayers for that to be the case- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

For the person whose cancer has not or did not end in earthly healing- He is working for the good of those who love Him.

It is not because He loves some more or some less. It isn’t because they had more people praying than you. It’s certainly not because your faith was too weak. No. We will never know the why’s behind His choices on this planet; but what we can know is this: He is good. He is Sovereign. He loves us fiercely and if you know Jesus- eternal healing awaits.

Joni Eareckson Tada says it this way, “Sometimes God allows what He hates to accomplish what He loves…anyone who takes the Bible seriously agrees that God hates suffering. Jesus spent most of His time relieving it. But when being healed becomes the only goal-‘I’m not letting go until I get what I want’- it’s a problem.”

Maybe the miracle you need to ask for is the one that could be performed in your heart- the one that says, “Though you slay me, yet I will praise you”. (Job 13:15). The change of heart that, despite sheer pain and emotional toil, chooses to cling to the Savior.

Which is harder- saying, “God is so good!” when the suffering stops; or trusting, “God is good” when it continues?

I can promise you this- because Ally and Bailey Grace’s special needs, Hugh and I have an eternal handicap to God that we are forever grateful for.

It’s not always easy. Some days- like yesterday-are really, really hard. I spent a lot of yesterday crying. I was frustrated with the seizures, stressed out with our medications, discontent with my day, and mainly just stomping my feet at God and His plans. It was simply a bad day. But God. He carried me through it. And you know what?

Even our worst days on earth are worth it for the promise of the prize of eternity with the Lord. He is worth it.

Today, may the words of the Psalmist be true in each of our lives- may we, “Put our hope in God” and may our hope not be in what He does but simply in who He is. May we trust Him to be God and believe that He will always offer us limitless amounts of Himself and know that is enough. May external circumstances and desires be trumped by internal transformation and Godly fixation on His glory and His glory alone- no matter what His answers to our prayers might be. He is faithful in all things.

He is our Prize.

All glory to Him and Him alone.



The Genetics Behind Our Adoption.


I will never forget the day we got the call, the one that said the girls’ mutation was de novo, a small phrase that holds a lot of weight in this whole genetics thing. You see, some diseases appear through the passing on of genes from those who are carriers of particular things; others just happen at “random”. While I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing random about the way the Lord created Bailey Grace and Ally; we are also aware at this point that the HECW2 mutation is one in which Hugh and I are not carriers. In fact, after doing thorough genetic testing, our physicians told us there was no reason to not have more children biologically.

So why are we adopting?


It was 2011, the year Hugh and I got engaged. We were in Ethiopia, and a teammate of ours had just spent some time with the birth mother of his child, an Ethiopian woman from the town we were staying in. He had purposely come on this trip in order to do this, and as he shared details about the meeting, I looked over at Hugh and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. I was bawling. We didn’t talk about it that day, but not everyone was as emotionally affected by that testimony as we were. I spent the rest of the night thinking about what a beautiful depiction of the Gospel adoption was.


I was sitting on the porch of a guest house in Bangkok, Thailand after spending three weeks in Bangladesh, living among a precious people in their small village. I listened to a worship song as I was praying and praising God for who He was, and all I could think about was all the children that we had come across that didn’t seem to have a home. Now, in the village, all the children were well taken care of whether it was by their biological parents or someone else; but in Thailand, there were signs of orphans displayed throughout the streets. I didn’t want it to be so. That afternoon, Hugh and I had a conversation about adoption. We didn’t know when, we didn’t know how, but we just knew that it played a role in our story.

“Before Christ came, Jewish people were the only ones considered God’s chosen people. It was all about genetics. But Jesus… because of Christ, none of our genes are relevant anymore. The only thing that is relevant is God and His glory…He has given His perfect genes to you. “- On Milk and Honey, p. 40-41

 There have been seasons of my life in which I hated- absolutely hated- who I had become. I was insecure, inconsistent, and seemed to never be able to get it right. As God has worked in me, I have seen that I will never be able to fully get it right- and that I don’t have to because He already did at the cross. As a Christ follower, His reputation, His record, and His character are quite literally mine. I have a new identity.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Adoption is the most beautiful parallel of what God has done for us as His children. He has made us His own.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1

That is what we are.

Children of the Living God.

Based on what He did, who He is, and whose He says we are.

“…to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”- John 1:12-13

We want to adopt not because we are fearful of “having another one of our own”. We want to adopt because we believe that God has made another one of His children quite literally our own, and that He is calling us to have a child not on the basis of flesh and blood but on the basis of the Gospel.

This child, this one who will be known and loved-the child whose days have been written before the beginning of time- will be as much “ours” as Ally and Bailey Grace. I say this with quotes because really, all of our children are simply entrusted to us by God to care for and love for this short time on earth. They are all His and He gets to choose what their lives look like. Because of Ally and Bailey Grace, this truth has been imprinted on Hugh and I’s hearts since the first few months of the girls’ lives.

And- if I don’t believe a child who was adopted is as much of a member of a family as a child who was birthed biologically- then I don’t fully believe the Gospel and the miracle of what God has done for each of us who are in Christ.

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Friends, I wrestled so much with Ally and Bailey Grace’s position in adding to our family. I have very literally grieved what it is going to be like to have, at times, a new focus. I have felt guilty about the possibility of us experiencing what is “normal” for most other families. But God. He has reminded me that, if He has called us to add to our family, this was a part of the plan from before the beginning of time. We may not have seen Baby Cheek in the picture all along; but He always has. With tears in my eyes I tell you how often in this process I have looked Ally and Bailey Grace in the eyes and reminded them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are not choosing to have another child because of anything to do with them or how they were created- and I mean that with every fiber of my being. They are not considered or loved any less because of this choice. The truth is, we should never make choices based on a feeling of lack or need. God has supplied us with everything we need in Him, and when we begin to give earthly things more weight than they deserve, we are teetering on the fine line of idolatry.

Getting married to Hugh did not complete me.

Having Ally and Bailey Grace did not complete me.

Adding to our family will not complete me.

I was completed at the cross in Christ and anything that occurs on this earth is supposed to deepen and strengthen that truth, not replace it.

So friends, we adopt because we were adopted.

We adopt because He has planned it from before the world began.

We adopt because we believe with all our hearts that there is a child out there that may not spend time in my womb but is very literally imprinted on my heart.

We adopt because there is someone who was meant to call us mommy and daddy and the girls sissy since before the idea even came into our senses.

We adopt because, in Christ, our genetics are His.

All glory be to Him and Him alone.

***As always, if you would like to contribute to #bringinghomebabycheek , there are links at the top to our GoFundMe as well as our t-shirts.***

View More: http://trishiaralstonphotography.pass.us/cheek-family-session

(photograph above by Trishia Ralston photography)